Today’s post from Andy Kelly seemed to be have read my mind somewhat. I am currently in the eye of a review storm. Over the next couple of days I will have played and reviewed no less than 4 titles ranging from a lowly PSP Mini, to a free-to-play MMO, to a full blown Xbox 360 game – I think there’s a PC title in there somewhere too.
I love writing reviews and I don’t get the chance to as much as I’d like. My new role at Games Are Evil will allow me to flex my critical muscles once more as I scour this year’s PC release schedule to see if I can find some good titles to review. In the past I’ve had some really rotten games to review – Racing Team Manager and Wall-E spring to mind – but I like to take the good with the bad as every so-often the real gems to fall into my lap unexpectedly. Nowadays, I am more focused on writing news and preparing features pitches.
Part of the reason why I don’t bother too much with reviews is that most publications already have their quota of review code and will do their reviews in-house. The other reason is one that Andy touched on today. For all those people who think the Metacritic is a useful tool I can tell you all this: ignore it. All that it is useful for is telling publishers how well a title has been received by critics in a relatively crude and arbitrary fashion. the only way to find out about a new game is to find a reviewer or publication that shares you tastes in video games and read their reviews. I mean actually read them, not just glance at the review scores.
Most reviewers, myself included, put a lot of effort into writing an accurate and entertaining reflection of how we feel a new title plays. I will play a game to its very limits, either by completing it (here’s Godfather II again) or by exploring all the different options that a game has to offer. This usually means me leaving my girlfriend to amuse herself with my laptop hooked up to Surf The Channel whilst I bash away at either joypad or keyboard for the best part of 48 hours. If the game is bad (see Godfather II) this can be far from fun but the whole criticism process usually makes up for this by allowing me to vent my frustrations in a literary manner.
Thankfully, at Games Are Evil, we have done away with the scores, just leaving our flowing prose to guide your decisions on which games to play.
Now, I have to get back to playing Darksiders until my desiccated eyeballs roll, peanut-sized, out of my eye sockets and disappear through the cracks in my nicely varnished, stripped floorboards.